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controversial cricket world cup matches
Cricket is a game of skill, passion and drama. But sometimes, it also becomes a game of controversy, when unexpected events, dubious decisions or heated exchanges mar the spirit of the sport. The cricket world cup, being the biggest stage for the game, has witnessed its fair share of controversial matches over the years. Here are some of the most controversial cricket world cup matches:
England vs South Africa, 1992 semi-final:
This was the first world cup appearance for South Africa after their return from isolation due to apartheid. They reached the semi-final against England and were in a good position to chase down 253 in 45 overs. However, rain intervened and reduced their target to 22 runs off one ball, according to the then prevalent rain rule. The rule was widely criticized as unfair and illogical, and South Africa were denied a chance to make history making it one of the controversial cricket world cup matches.
India vs Sri Lanka, 1996 semi-final:
India were hosting Sri Lanka at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, hoping to repeat their 1983 world cup triumph. They seemed on track when they reduced Sri Lanka to 251/8 in 50 overs. However, their chase went horribly wrong as they collapsed from 98/1 to 120/8, thanks to some brilliant bowling by Sri Lanka. The crowd at the stadium could not take the humiliation and started throwing bottles and setting fire to the stands. The match had to be stopped and Sri Lanka were declared winners by default.
Australia vs South Africa, 1999 semi-final:
This was arguably the most thrilling and dramatic match in world cup history. Australia and South Africa were locked in a tense battle for a place in the final against Pakistan. Australia batted first and scored 213 in 49.2 overs. South Africa seemed in control of the chase until Shane Warne spun his magic and took four wickets. The match came down to the last over, with South Africa needing nine runs with one wicket in hand. Lance Klusener hit two fours off Damien Fleming and tied the scores. However, on the fourth ball, he ran for a single that was not there and Allan Donald was run out at the other end. The match ended in a tie, but Australia advanced to the final on superior net run rate in one of the most memorable and controversial cricket world cup matches
Australia vs India, 2003 final:
Australia were the defending champions and favourites to win the 2003 world cup. They faced India in the final at Johannesburg. Australia batted first and posted a mammoth 359/2 in 50 overs, with Ricky Ponting smashing an unbeaten 140 off 121 balls. India’s chase never got going as they lost Sachin Tendulkar in the first over to Glenn McGrath. They were eventually bowled out for 234 in 39.2 overs, giving Australia a comprehensive victory by 125 runs. However, the match was marred by controversy as some Indian fans alleged that Ponting’s bat had a spring inside it that helped him hit big shots. The allegation was never proven and Ponting dismissed it as a joke.
England vs New Zealand, 2019 final:
The most recent world cup final was also the most controversial cricket world cup matches. England and New Zealand played out a thrilling match that ended in a tie after both teams scored 241 in 50 overs. The match went into a super over, where both teams scored 15 runs each. However, England were declared winners on boundary count, which was a rule that many felt was unfair and arbitrary. The match also had several moments of controversy, such as when Ben Stokes accidentally deflected a throw from Martin Guptill to the boundary and got six runs instead of two, or when umpires Kumar Dharmasena and Marais Erasmus gave England an extra run for overthrow that should not have been awarded.
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